Roger Bailey

25 June 1946 to 22 January 2013

Roger at 60 The following tribute was given by Mike Trimm during the Memorial Celebration held at the Conway Hall, London, on 19 February 2013. This is an extended version of the eulogy given by Mike at Roger’s funeral.

I first met Roger when I came to London as an undergraduate in 1987, and over the 25 years or so that I knew him he was the single most influential person in my life. Roger was a truly unique individual. He was intelligent, generous and witty. He was also rebellious, provocative and mischievous. He was forthright, forceful and blunt. He was a maverick, an anarchist and a non–conformist. He challenged the establishment, he shunned elitism and he ridiculed convention. He also had some pretty bizarre dance moves.

He was an avid Guardian reader, a keen crossword solver, a devoted fan of the Apple Mac and in more recent years an obsessive iPhone user and an unlikely convert to Red Bull.

His interests were many and varied. He was passionate about classical music and was responsible for introducing many of us to new musical experiences, be it Nielsen’s symphonies, Janacek’s operas or Schubert’s chamber music. He was an avid listener to Radio 3. In fact the only time Radio 3 was turned off was when we were about to start ringing handbells or when the cricket was being broadcast. Needless to say, it came as a great relief to Roger when Test Match Special moved to Radio 4.

He also had a great interest in films, and in his university days was an active member of the UCL film society, where he made some close friends. He was particularly interested in animated film, and his friend Peter Shirley recalls the “Man on the Bog” sequence, one of Roger’s productions for the Filmsoc newsreel. I understand this depicted an elderly man on an old fashioned toilet with a high cistern labelled “The Thunderer”. The more the man strained, the redder in the face he became, until eventually he exploded – an excellent example of toilet humour if ever there was one.

Roger travelled extensively, often to unusual and interesting places. He explored the Middle East, the Indian sub–continent, China, Russia, Japan. He’d travelled across America and Australia, and throughout Europe. In 2010 and again in 2011 I joined him on trips to South East Asia taking in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We had semi–planned a trip to Burma last year but unfortunately the deterioration in Roger’s health put paid to that. However, I was amazed to discover that he had been to Burma at least three times previously.

A few years ago, Roger embarked on a car trip from Nepal through Tibet and western China, then into various countries for which my geography lets me down, until he got to the Caspian Sea. Then, after a 24–hour ferry crossing with no heating and only one working toilet, he was refused entry into Azerbaijan and had to take the ferry back again to get a different stamp on his visa. This meant another 24 hours across the Caspian Sea, still without heating but this time with no working toilet!

Wherever possible Roger would travel by public transport as he found this an excellent way to understand the culture and real lives of the people and places he visited. And you wouldn’t find Roger wasting his money on expensive hotel accommodation. Phil Normington, another Filmsoc friend of Roger’s who worked in the travel industry and shared several holidays with Roger, describes as “totally refreshing” Roger’s willingness, even eagerness, to endure conditions that few others would consider. He recalls one night they spent in a “hotel” at Sidon in Lebanon in 1994, and I quote: “The room was filthy, the walls splattered with blood, the windows broken, there was no electricity, and we had to share with five trapeze artists from Georgia all of whom snored, but Roger lapped it all up like Atom the Cat.”

Incidentally, Roger inherited Atom the Cat from me when I moved to Germany a few years ago, and I understand she provided much comfort to Roger in his latter months. I am also pleased to say she has continued to provide comfort to Susie in the days since his death. Quite who will be responsible for maintaining Atom’s Facebook page – she has over 100 friends – remains to be seen.

Young RogerRoger’s biggest interest was undoubtedly bell ringing. Roger learnt to ring at Holbeach in Lincolnshire in 1957 at just 10 years old. These may not have been the easiest bells on which to learn, but Roger was not deterred and thus began a lifelong passion for all things campanological. Since that day his contribution to and influence on both bell ringing and bell ringers simply cannot be overstated.

Roger was a prolific peal ringer. He rang over 3,000 peals during his lifetime, a statistic that he was slightly embarrassed about. He said recently that he may have rung 3,000 peals but he did not consider himself a 3,000–pealer. He conducted over 1,250 peals. He had rung peals on all 366 days of the year, and had rung peals in 27 different countries – easily more than anyone else.

It was handbell ringing that gave Roger particular pleasure. Of his 3,029 peals, 1,361 were on handbells, of which he conducted 823. I’m told that at his death he was the 5th leading handbell peal ringer of all time, although I think he may have been pipped into 6th place now. I rather suspect he’d top the list if it included handbell peals lost. He rang 453 peals in his office at Imperial College, 205 at his home in Kensal Green and a further 142 at his previous residence at Cornwall House near Baker Street. He organised the majority of these himself, although for Roger organisation was something usually left to the last minute. We may have pencilled a date in our diaries, but he would often only complete the band on the day. He would ring me at work and say “Control here, I see we have a handbell peal tonight...”. In later years, he would ring me at work and instead say “Out of Control here, I see we have a handbell peal tonight...”

It was an honour for me to have rung so many peals with Roger and I was privileged to ring in what turned out to be his last tower bell peal at Dordrecht in June and his last handbell peal at his home in Kensal Green in November.

However, it was not just about ringing peals. With three lunchtime practices a week in his office at Imperial College, Roger taught literally dozens of people to ring handbells, including myself. When I last saw Roger about a week or so before he died, we tried to list down as many ringers as we could who had passed through the Imperial College handbell training camp. We easily listed 50 names, and there are probably at least as many that we couldn’t immediately recall. Not all of these were taught from scratch, but it’s fair to say Roger’s influence had an enormous impact on every one of them.

As well as the practical side, Roger was also extremely interested in the theoretical challenges of bell ringing. He was a pioneer in the use of computers to solve compositional problems. He readily admitted that it was his interest in bell ringing compositions that caused him to take a job in the computer centre at UCL, where he worked for 10 years before taking a lectureship at Imperial College. His compositions were often simple and elegant, usually pragmatic, designed to be capable of being called by conductors of all abilities. Because of this, Roger’s name appears on many peal boards in towers up and down the country and beyond, even if he wasn’t ringing in the peal himself.

Another significant contribution is Roger’s website. This is such a simple idea – in effect a list of links to any and all bell ringing related content on the web – but one which has proved such an invaluable resource to thousands of ringers throughout the world. Like many others, I do hope that this website can be maintained in the future as a lasting legacy.

I could go on and on about Roger’s immense contribution to bell ringing – his love of bell restoration projects such as that at St Katharine Cree; his legendary status in the University of London Society, his years of service to the Middlesex County Association; his long and active membership of various Central Council committees; and of course his dedication to, and patience with, the ringing and ringers at St Mary’s, Willesden. Indeed there are so many aspects of bell ringing on which Roger had an impact, that it would be impossible in the time available to talk about them all.

But it is the relatively small things that I will remember most about Roger: the red ink in his fountain pen; the piles of Ringing Worlds on the kitchen table; the joke about the Japanese businessman receiving a fax on a golf course – (for any of you who haven’t heard this joke, I’m sorry to say I’ve now spoiled the punch–line); his dyed and re–dyed cotton jackets; arguing over where the half–lead is, or was, or will be; drinking gin into the early hours of the morning on a UL tour; offering me a lift in the days when he owned a car, and then promptly breaking down; ordering a round of drinks at the bar and then realising he had no money on him – it’s amazing how often that happened!

But most of all, it was Roger’s dry sense of wit when he was ranting about some cause or other. This was Roger in his element, and was as entertaining to hear as it was scathing to receive. Here’s a quote from Roger on one of the bell–ringing chat lists in response to someone else proposing reforms to the Central Council decisions on methods, and I reproduce this with the recipient’s permission.

“...Let’s look at you to start with. You get elected to the Council and so to the Methods Committee. Not because you have any track record of doing anything useful, or because you have any bright ideas, but purely because you appear to be the personification of impatience with the status quo, and thus appeal to the sort of sniggering half–wit that mostly fills the chat–list — people (I use the term loosely) who never invented any campanological idea of lasting consequence, but who spend their entire time up their own arses on the theory list, telling each other how wonderful their ideas are and dissing everyone else. In short, people who are still young enough to know everything. If they weren’t bell ringers, they’d be out vandalising bus shelters. Wasters, the whole bloody lot of them...”

Simply marvellous stuff! Incidentally, I would point out that Roger added a footnote after his reference to ‘wasters’ which said “except PABS of course”. I thought I’d mention that because I know PABS is here tonight.

As the discussion went on, and this bit I didn’t ask permission to repeat but I’m going to anyway, Roger states:

“Where were you dragged up? Born, educated, and still living in a desperate gale–lashed shit–filled fen. A classic deprived childhood leading to a stunted and dysfunctional ‘adulthood’... Someone call social services before he tortures his hamster to death...”

Except that I understand Philip Earis was born in Huddersfield... Anyway, the argument continued, and I’m quoting Roger again:

“The thing that actually pisses you off (and which you disingenuously present as cynicism) is that the whole world and its dog does not fall about in wonder and bask in the sunshine emanating from your arse. Having failed to convince anyone at all (except for a few self–regarding Oxbridge tossers who might conceivably be looking up your arse for sunshine were it not for the fact that they’re already too far up their own to see anything at all) of the merits of your views on peals, methods, white wine, popular song lyrics, life, the universe or anything at all, you’re now reduced to whingeing that anyone who disagrees with you has been around too long. Pretty intellectually bankrupt if you ask me.”

Which of course nobody did...

But it wasn’t just Philip Earis that got Roger at his keyboard late at night. Pretty much anybody or anything was fair game.

He described the Cambridge University Guild as “bacteria on ropes” . He argued that retired people shouldn’t be taught to ring (“they’re opinionated, hopelessly timid and bring along all the baggage from their professional lives”).

On computing: “This isn’t only about Javascript or Java, it’s about the giant creaking heap of poxy bug–ridden ill thought out bullshit that hides by the name of ‘web–programming’. Inflated crap knocked out by Microshit’s useless wanky authoring tools that only runs properly on Internet Explorer (on a PC); bloody Flash stuff that requires me to download some hopeless multi–megabyte ‘plugin’ that won’t run on my machine anyway; the whole smug, arrogant bunch of techies whose only answer to complaints that their website has stopped working is ‘please upgrade your browser’. (This of course is just another way of spelling ‘fuck off.’)”

Or how about this to the then newly elected master of the College Youths whose picture had just appeared in the Ringing World, and again I quote:

“By the way, didn’t you ought to lose that bloody awful haircut now that you’re head of the establishment? Compared to those two stalwarts of the exercise standing next to you like a pair of brick privies, you look like something that blew in from the street. And you’ll have to do something about that daft grin too – looks like someone’s interfering with your back passage out of shot.”

Haircut The idea of Roger Bailey giving fashion advice to Dickon Love is truly astonishing. Especially when it comes to haircuts as those who knew him in the 1970s can no doubt testify.

Finally, for anyone who wishes Roger were still with us, I found something that might be of interest. This is Roger commenting on an obituary. First, the sentence that particularly irked Roger:

“As the sound of the bells rings on into eternity, may it come round him and ring him into his seat in the eternal choir.”

Roger’s response:

“What on earth can this mean? If anyone writes this kind of guff about me when I die, I swear I’ll come back and haunt them.”

So, to all those budding eulogisers out there, if you want him back, you know what you have to do...

Roger died on 22 January and was buried, at his own request, in a woodland burial park on 1 February. He said he wanted to have a tree planted up his nose so his carbon atoms could be put to good use. I am sure they will be. He was a great bloke, a true friend, and he is and will always be sorely missed.

So with that I’d like you all to be upstanding, raise your glasses and join me in a toast – to Roger Bailey.

Michael Trimm 19 February 2013

In the days following Roger’s death, many people sent messages to various e-mail lists and individuals. These have been collated and are reproduced below.

Individual e-mail Tributes

At 09:25:10 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Barry Chick wrote:

Very sorry to read this news. Condolences to all Roger’s family and 


At 09:09:39 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Michael Belcher wrote:

How sad to hear of Roger's passing. He last visited me a couple of years 
ago in Lincolnshire in his usually unannounced way.( He turned up years ago, 
again unannounced, for dinner on Christmas Day) I will miss him greatly 
but always pleased that I knew him .


At 09:36:30 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Jim Clatworthy  wrote:

I was very saddened to hear the news this morning.  Please pass on my 
sincere condolences to Susie and Roger’s family.  I have many happy 
memories of ringing and fun with Roger over the years. 


At 09:36:54 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Nick Jones wrote:

Thanks for passing on the news. It's hard to believe that such a 'force of 
nature'  could simply cease. 


At 09:41:55 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Ian Fielding wrote:

I was very sad to see the news Roger had passed away earlier today. 
Although I  didn't ring with him as regularly as a lot of people will have 
done, he had a huge influence over the direction my ringing took and can 
probably be attributed to  making me far less elitist that I would have 
probably been! A top chap, great fun  and instrumental in giving so many 
people so many opportunities to develop  their ringing


At 09:42:00 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Robert Lewis wrote:

Very sorry to hear that - " a bright light gone from our midst".

We will get the notice in this week's edition.


At 09:54:22 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, David Brown wrote:

So sorry to hear of Roger's death, even though I was expecting it


At 09:56:32 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Ms George Unsworth wrote:

I was about to say "I can't believe it", but all-too-sadly I can.  I last 
heard from him  on Christmas Day and visited a few weeks before that though 
he was  determined to pass off what seemed to be to be an appalling cough 
just as a  small infection.

We sometimes talked of his wishes for specific music at his funeral - the 
way  you do when you really have no concept that it will really ever happen


At 11:42:52 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Philip Vracas wrote:

I didn't think it would happen so quickly. I will really miss Roger: he was 
such  intelligent and amusing company, and a generous ringing teacher. 


Ian Partridge    Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 11:50:43 AM

I had the privilege of being the third ringer in a handbell band,
watching Roger teach someone Bob Minor from scratch.  I wasn't
expecting anything special having never seen Roger teach before, but
it was truly memorable.  Roger was a natural teacher and the learner
made huge progress in a very short space of time - far more than I've
witnessed at any other "beginner's handbells" session.  It was an
eye-opener about what a difference an inspired teacher can make.


Margaret Callinan     Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 12:18:14 PM

I 'met' Roger here on Ringing-Chat and we finally met in person on 
Gardenvale railway station here in Melbourne from where I took him to ring 
at St James.
We met again when I was in England, at Witham-on-the-Hill and in London.
He was kindness itself to this mediocre ringer, and lots of fun too.
I'll miss him so how much greater the loss of his nearest and dearest and 
those who really knew him.


Clive Smith    Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 1:23:07 PM
Over the first 6 months of 2012 Roger was a great help to the 'local' 
Central European band in Dordrecht in our project to ring Norman Smith's 23 
atw. Eventually, and after quite a few unsuccessful attempts of numbers 
earlier in the series, some of which he travelled over to be in despite 
knowing chances of success were far from guaranteed, we managed to score 
with Roger in the band, this being the first peal of 23atw on the 
continent. Roger encouraged us, was a good help as an experienced ringer, 
and was happy, indeed wanted to, travel over from London to help us out.
We shall have good memories and will be sad he not to have another 
opportunity to ring with him.

At 13:44:18 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Pamela Pohling-Brown wrote:

Just to say how very very sad I am to hear this news. He will be  greatly 
missed by ringers all over the world. He had his funny little ways, but I  
loved him dearly! I last saw him at Alison's funeral, when we talked about 
his  visiting here again with Susie, but we never somehow managed to 
arrange it. I  didn't even know that he had moved into the terminal phase 
and shan't forgive  myself easily for not enquiring about his health more 


At 15:01:55 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Lorraine Andrews wrote:

I am shocked and saddened to hear about Roger. I did know he was ill.


At 15:36:03 on Tue, 22 Jan 2013, Martin& Maggie Whiteley wrote:

We were very sorry to hear about Roger's death earlier today. We obviously 
knew that he was ill and a footnote to a recent peal at South Croydon 
suggested that his condition was worsening - but the end obviously came 
very quickly.  We go a long way back with Roger. He was one of life's 
eccentric enthusiasts, a tireless supporter of ringing, inveterate 
traveller, man of compassion and master of plain speaking. Never short of 
an opinion (almost always provocative and sometimes even constructive), he 
wheeled away at authority and challenged the status quo. There's always 
room in this world for people like Roger, people who brighten up the lives 
of others, and sadly we've just lost one of the few that we know. Please 
pass on our deep sympathy and regards to Susie


Philip Earis   Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 6:30:04 PM

I am very sad to learn of the death of Roger Bailey earlier today.  Roger 
was a maverick, a hugely interesting and entertaining man it was always a 
joy to spend time with (and spar with). He was mischievous, forthright, 
kind, and blunt, sometimes all simultaneously. Ringing is much poorer for 
his passing.

He of course had a strong interest in composition and ringing theory, and 
indeed it's hard to summarise his immense contribution. 

Perhaps influenced by his south Lincolnshire connections, he greatly 
enjoyed the history, traditions and development of spliced minor (including 
a wild passion for Woodbine Delight). He was a long-time member of the 
Methods Committee of the Central Council and had clear and forthright views 
in many areas. Paradoxically both a traditionalist and an anarchist, Roger 
provided support and logical underpinning for one of the big and impactful 
liberalisations of recent times, the green light to ring minor in multi-
extent blocks. Indeed, two of his most frequently-rung compositions are on 
this plan:

5040 Cambridge Surprise Minor 
No. 3 
2345  F  T  W  H 
3245     s  2  - 
5342        -   
2435  -     3  3 
5243     s       
3425  -     3  3 
Repeat twice. 

1440 Plain Minor 
2345  W  H 
5243  -  3 
4325  S  - 
5423  -  3 
3524  -  3 
3245  -  2 
Two part. 
True to Plain Minor methods with 2nds place lead end.  

Right up until very recently, Roger was still trying to elegantly arrange 
210 treble-dodging minor methods into a peal length.

His compositions were often pragmatic, achieving the desired results in 
simple ways that served the purpose.  This can be seen in his very 
straightforward extents of Bob Triples...

5040 Plain Bob Triples
23456  W   M
63254      2
25436  3*  -
3* = - - s.
Repeat eleven times, adding a bob Home in parts 2, 4, 8 and 10, and a 
single home in parts 6 and 12.

...and his 'universal' compositions for treble-dodging major, which he 
often used for calling handbell peals in new major methods. Roger rang over 
3000 peals, including (according to Pealbase) 1361 in hand, of which he 
conducted 823. He's 5th on the all-time list of handbell peals rung, and 
successive generations of handbell ringers were taught, mentored and 
heavily influenced by him.

5600 Treble Dodging Major
23456   W   M   H
64523   2   -   -
62345   -   2   2 
Repeat 4 times. True to methods with leadheads ade and falseness BDEKabcdef 
XYZ, provided the W-M leads are clean to falseness DEK.

Whilst the compositions have a clear manual logic, Roger, formerly a Senior 
Lecturer in Computing at Imperial (in his inimitable words "a small 
technical college in London's French quarter, where my principal activity 
used to be teaching students to ring handbells"), was also a pioneer of 
computing in a ringing context. More of Roger's multi-extent minor blocks 
are on his website at, and indeed has developed over the years into a very valuable resource, 
with information and links in so many diverse areas. I hope this can be 
sustained going forwards. Roger was an extremely personable chap, and his 
interest in composition, computing and the theoretical side of ringing are 
shown in his friendship with Brian Price. This has led to many important 
ringing papers being available online, and much interesting information and 
anecdotes preserved. I'd encourage everyone to take a look at if you haven't seen this.

I haven't scratched the surface of Roger's contribution to ringing theory 
here, let alone his unique and wonderful character.  He was no great fan of 
this mailing list, and expressed his views forcefully at times.  Here is a 
particularly entertaining excerpt from a late-night rant to the ringing-
chat list that he sent in February 2006, at a time when I was volubly 
advocating reform of the CC Decisions on methods:

"...Let's look at you to start with. You get elected to the Council and so 
to the MC. Not because you have any track record of doing anything useful, 
or because you have any bright ideas, but purely because you appear to be 
the personification of impatience with the status quo, and thus appeal to 
the sort of sniggering half-wit that mostly fills the chat-list -- people 
(I use the term loosely) who never invented any campanological idea of 
lasting consequence, but who spend their entire time up their own arses on 
the theory list, telling each other how wonderful their ideas are and 
dissing everyone else. In short, people who are still young enough to know 
everything. If they weren't bellringers, they'd be out vandalising bus 
shelters. Wasters, the whole bloody lot of them..."  

I'm sitting here with a sad smile on my face, hearing Roger spout these 
words and picturing the twinkle in his eye that he had when delivering such 
views.  When we rang, drank and talked together in the months and years 
after this, we would often bounce provocative ideas and quote these words 
and imagery of bus-shelter vandalising and so forth to each other. I'll 
miss him a lot.


Margaret Callinan   Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 10:22:46 PM

Even an expected death can come as a shock,
as Roger’s did for me. Hence my comments last night, while true, were 
bland. When I said we met again in England, that was something of an

Roger will rightly be remembered for his
enormous contribution to ringing. But as a mark of the man, this example is 
that could stand for many, I'm sure
 He (others in this band, and many others
besides, whom I think of often) really put himself out for me. To say this 
a band of mixed ability rather understates the case. 
Re the footnote, it's my "only" QP in the Mother Country.


At 00:01:38 on Wed, 23 Jan 2013, Alan Bain wrote:

Thanks for passing on the sad news about Roger -- one of the great 
characters in ringing, who will be greatly missed. He was always very 
enthusiastic and I found him to be especially encouraging in the very early 
days when I was just learning to ring surprise on tower bells. After an 
eventful tower bell QP (most of which was my fault) he discovered that I 
did not know how to ring handbells and set about to rectify this with 
immediate effect!


Elizabeth Hibbert    Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 2:38:06 AM

I was very sad to see the announcement that Roger had passed away, although
I knew before Christmas that he only had a few weeks left.  However,
although he was very frail, he was still ringing handbells almost to the 
- see particularly the quarters of Cambridge S Minor for the Society of
Interplanetary Youths (in memory of Sir Patrick Moore) rung at the Royal
Marsden Hospital on 19.12.2012 and of Plain Bob Minor for the End of the
World Society at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on 28.12.2012. 


At 20:34:48 on Wed, 23 Jan 2013, Deborah Thorley wrote:

Please can I add my thoughts and condolences to the many others you will 
have received already. Roger was always a presence in my life through his 
friendship with my dad but as a young child I knew him as the rat fat man. 
I did not actually meet him until I was 20 (I don't think an encounter when 
I was a few weeks old counts as meeting) and then over the years at ringing 
do's etc. After dad died he helped me with compositions and conducting and 
I will miss his help in this area when he was just at the end of an e mail 
whenever I needed him. He was one of the greats but never forgot where he 
started and was always willing to help others learn.


Robert Lee   Thu Jan 24 09:52:42 GMT 2013 

I'm also sad to hear of Roger's passing. He really was a unique character 
and I have some great memories of ringing and drinking with him, as well as 
sharing thoughts on methods and compositions.


Simon Humphrey   Thu Jan 24 11:56:28 GMT 2013 

I was shocked as well as saddened by the news, I had no idea Roger was even


At 14:31:58 on Thu, 24 Jan 2013, Toby Arkless wrote:

Roger was a great guy and will be sadly missed by all.


At 17:45:38 on Thu, 24 Jan 2013, Clare Dyer wrote:

I was very sad indeed to hear the news about Roger - he was a true  legend, 
and he will be sorely missed. I spent many a night drinking gin  with Roger 
on UL tours, and look back with fondness at all those fun  times. I really 
hope Susie is holding up ok.


At 19:02:34 on Thu, 24 Jan 2013, Tony Kench wrote:

I was very sorry to hear of Roger's passing this week.


At 20:59:03 on Fri, 25 Jan 2013, John Barrance wrote:

I was very sad to hear the news about Roger Bailey. As a member of the 
western district Roger has always been around for meetings, training days, 
Rogers Rambles, work on restoration and the BRF committee meetings. Plus 
the odd peal and quarters. We will all miss him very much.


At 08:53:32 on Sat, 26 Jan 2013, Tom Garrett wrote:

I always enjoyed ringing with Roger during the 70?s and his individual 
sense of humour. I will never forget the first time I met him. This was at 
St Olave Hart Street. He came in and promptly hung himself up on a hook. He 
will be sadly missed as one of the great ringing characters.


At 10:30:00 on Sat, 26 Jan 2013, Andrew Young wrote:

I was deeply saddened to read of Roger's death.  I got to know him well 
during the 1980s, when I worked at Imperial College, and rang handbells 
with him most lunchtimes.  While I am sure I was a challenge to his 
patience at times (!!) he was always really encouraging (even 
inspirational), and above all great fun.  I look back on those times with 
great fondness.  While I am still no great shakes as a handbell ringer, the 
fact that I can still ring the basics is largely down to him.

We rang a quarter peal at Oadby (Leicestershire), which is now my home 
tower, dedicated to his memory.  Although not all of the band knew him 
personally, those of us who did remember him with great affection (and 
those who did not know him personally, certainly knew of him).


At 20:32:55 on Sat, 26 Jan 2013, David Sparling wrote: 

I studied at IC from 1977 - 1980 and rang with Roger as part of the ULSCR 
band that included such famous names as Peter and Christine Sanderson, 
Alison Surrey, Linda Garton, Phil Barnes, Richard Butler, John Peverett 
etc. In addition Roger taught both myself and David James to ring handbells 
(from scratch) meeting in his office every lunch-time to practice, chat and 
drink coffee. He was, as so many will testify, an absolutely outstanding 
teacher. Those times remain some of my happiest memories.

In later years I also served with Roger on the Central Council and he and I 
worked together with Tony Smith on the Administration Committee to help 
redraft the Rules back in 2009 & 2010. Again they were fun times.


At 17:46:12 on Thu, 31 Jan 2013, David Carnochan,  wrote:

Here are a couple of snippets about Roger from his Filmsoc days. 

Roger was very fond of classical music.  I spent one Christmas with Roger 
in his Cornwall House flat behind Baker Street tube station.  Roger had the 
complete set of Beethoven symphonies on gramophone records and we listened 
to the whole lot, in order, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We 
finished Beethoven's 9th after Christmas lunch and decided to walk across 
Regent's Park to Camden Town so that we could get an ice cream at Marine 
Ices.  Walking across the park the expectation grew as we discussed what 
exotic treat we would each go for.  Then we arrived - only to find that 
Marine Ices had closed five minutes before as it was Christmas Day.  This 
was a somewhat devastating blow, not to mention the ignominious walk back 
home, and a sad cup of tea with no ice cream.  Such an occurrence couldn't 
happen today with MP3 music players, the Internet to check opening hours, 
and Camden Town shops open 24 x 7. 

Roger liked films and especially animated ones.  One year UCL's Film 
Society, Filmsoc, put on an evening of animated films as part of the Camden 
Festival.  Roger had an idea for "The Man on the Bog" animated film, which 
he duly made and which lasted all of 3 minutes from its gentle start to its 
explosive finish.  Hopefully the title explains everything.  In the film 
The Man starts wearing glasses, which craze over, break, and fall off.  The 
problem was the sound effects and this was where Roger's ingenuity came in.  
Crushing cellophane was fine for the glasses crazing over.  A number of 
Filmsoc people then scoured college for broken glass, collecting nearly a 
dustbin full.  Emptying this onto the ground provided just the right sound 
for the glasses breaking.  And an equally extensive search for large iron 
bars eventually provided just the right sound for the glasses falling off.  
"The Man on the Bog" was shown as part of the evening and was probably the 
best animated film presented, certainly the funniest. 

At 18:07:43 on Fri, 1 Feb 2013, Darina Scott wrote:

We were truly so sorry to hear of this illness and subsequent death.  He  
will be such a loss to so many.


At 16:42:35 on Sat, 2 Feb 2013, John Ketteringham wrote:

As you may know I rang a lot with Roger in Lincolnshire and after I went to  
work in London he stayed with me when he had his interview at  Imperial.      
After I left first to work in Worcester and then back to  Lincolnshire I 
had occasionally to go to London and Roger always  arranged a handbell Peal 
for me.     I didn't realise just how ill Roger was  so it was upsetting 
for me when I heard he had died.


At 23:23:12 on Sat, 2 Feb 2013, Adam Crocker  wrote:

I only got to know Roger in the past couple of years when I used to stay  
with him at 52, Burrows Road, and ring handbell peals with him there  and 
at Guy's.  He was very encouraging to me, and called my first  handbell 
peal of Bristol S Major, Spliced Surprise Major (all the work, or  course), 
and Surprise Royal (Cambridge).


At 22:16:27 on Sun, 3 Feb 2013, Brian Harris wrote:

I was living in Peterborough when he began to ring in South Lincs and  took 
part in a number of his early performances.  We always said, when  we met, 
that we would ring a handbell peal together.  Alas it was not to  be.   In 
my experience, there has been no one quite like Roger in the exercise and 
our joint debt to him will take a deal of repayment.  May he rest in peace.


At 15:44:15 on Thu, 7 Feb 2013, Peter Holden wrote:

You will I'm sure have heard about the trip to Russia in Jan '74 with 
Graham Firman and Anne Rogers, and the infamous picture of us in RW that 
appeared with the account of the trip. If not I could fill in some detail. 
While in Moscow we rang a peal with Rebecca Joyce who was working for the 
American Embassy. We rang in the apartment she lived in. This was in a 
block reserved for foreign diplomatic staff etc. Before we started Rebecca 
told us there'd recently been a problem with the light fitting in the room 
we were in. A man had been to repair it and he had found "something" in the 
light. A bug? Halfway through the peal Roger leant back, stared at the 
light and said "What do you make of this then Boris" I don't remember how 
we managed to keep ringing.

I organised a few UL peal weekends in the early 70's staying at my parents 
home near Witney. I remember Roger had one or two chats with my Mum at some 
point. She took to him but said he was a "Peter Pan". I think she may have 
been right, but in the nicest sense

I will always associate Roger with C house. He lived there all the time I 
was ringing regularly with him, and of course shared with a number of other 
ringers. Although there were always some non-ringers there. I think Roger 
preferred it that way.

I expect you're onto some of his house-mates of that era - Robin Churchill, 
Eddie Futcher and Gareth Davies are three I remember.

He must have just started his PhD at UC when  I first came up ('67). As you 
know this went on and on and by '73 he was working in the UL computer 
centre. We rang a few practice HB peals before Russia and one of them was 
in the computer centre. I was seeing much less of Roger by the time he 
started work at IC.

It was almost by chance that he came to ring at Great Barrington last year. 
I'd realised rather late in the day that the 50th anniversary of my first 
peal was approaching and thought it would be good to arrange a rematch. I 
was looking round for ringers I'd rung with over the years and thought of 
Roger. Much to my surprise and delight he said yes. It was a lovely day. We 
had lunch at the Fox afterwards and Roger was on good form, a really nice 
way to remember him. I knew Roger had been ill, but he seemed fine that 
day. We had some time together and I realised afterwards that he was trying 
to tell me things I wasn't hearing... One thing he was quite insistent 
about was that I should organise similar peal in the spring of  '13. I 
didn't but had started doing something for the autumn, only to realise that 
it was too late.

We shall all miss him. A generous and genuine friend.


At 15:18:50 on Sat, 16 Feb 2013, Michael Uphill  wrote:

He used to come down and stay with John Ketteringham - he stayed with him 
for his interview at UCL - and it was through John that I first knew Roger 
when he brought him to Putney, John being a regular visitor to Putney at 
that time.

I had asked Roger in a peal attempt at Oatlands Park and my recollection 
was that it was on my 16th birthday. In fact, after getting into the loft 
and consulting my old diaries, I discover that it was actually my 17th 
birthday, on 5-12-64 (when Roger was about 18 1/2). It was my first attempt 
at calling a peal of surprise major. We had a shift and, while I was trying 
to work out what to do, Roger shouted to me, "Are you going to stand this 
up, or do I have to help by setting my own bell". That's my, not terribly 
happy, first real recollection although obviously I'd seen him before with 
John. We probably all did things like that when we were clever teenagers – 
and Roger was far more clever than I!

He then started coming, not only to the occasional UL practices at 
Southwark, but also to the monthly ones that I was by then arranging and he 
took part in a quarter peal of Bob Royal there, when we met with 10, on 
March 17th 1965. The two "big" UL names of the time, Roger Powell and 
Richard Humphries were in it, as was the also recently arrived, Robert E J 
Dennis who, again did quite a bit of ringing with me at Wandsworth, and 
whose first quarter of Royal it was. I rang the tenor age 17y3m! I might 
also mention in passing that I had called Bob Dennis's first quarter peal 
"inside," Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles, almost exactly a year earlier at 
Holy Trinity, Wandsworth - what a claim to fame!

 My first successful peal with Roger was at Dorchester, Oxon, on Feb 5, 
1966, when he composed and conducted DNCBM, again with some of the then big 
UL names.

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